This is the first line of a post by Jason McIntyre of Big Lead: “David Whitley, a columnist at AOL Fanhouse – which, I guess, is still a website – is a racist.”
Whitley, a columnist for SportingNews.com, responded in an email this morning:
“If they were old enough to read, my two adopted African-American daughters would certainly be disappointed to find out I’m a racist.”
To catch everyone up, Whitley is under fire for a column he wrote Wednesday on Colin Kaepernick. He noted that the San Francisco 49ers quarterback has many tatoos, a rarity for players at that position.
San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick is going to be a big-time NFL quarterback. That must make the guys in San Quentin happy.
Approximately 98.7 percent of the inmates at California’s state prison have tattoos. I don’t know that as fact, but I’ve watched enough “Lockup” to know it’s close to accurate.
I’m also pretty sure less than 1.3 percent of NFL quarterbacks have tattoos. There’s a reason for that.
NFL quarterback is the ultimate position of influence and responsibility. He is the CEO of a high-profile organization, and you don’t want your CEO to look like he just got paroled.
The response was intense to say the least. AOL even added a tagline: “David Whitley’s opinion is not reflective of the opinion of AOL, Inc.”
I’ve known Whitley for a long time, and he’s a funny guy. You can debate whether he pulled off this column, but calling him a racist is off base. People need to stop throwing around labels like that so freely.
Here is Whitley’s email to me:
The opinion I was trying to reflect was that NFL quarterbacks have been largely tattoo free. Having a humble, hard-working, scandal-free QB potentially would be a breakthrough. And old farts like me who don’t fancy tattoos will just have to sigh and accept it.
It didn’t occur to me that admitting I’m not a fan of body art would be admitting I don’t like African-Americans. I’m pretty sure the middle-aged women at the gym with barbed-wire tats that I referenced are white. So is Jeremy Shockey. If they were old enough to read, my two adopted African-American daughters would certainly be disappointed to find out I’m a racist.
On the bright side, Tattoo-gate II is apparently good for my social media standing. I’m not much on Twitter, but I picked up about 75 new followers yesterday. I hope they’re not all from San Quentin.